Kent considers new sampling well at closed landfill

(Original publication: March 21, 2006)

KENT ­ Residents for almost 50 years hauled their old mattresses, construction debris and other garbage to a landfill on the edge of Kent.

Carting companies, too, dumped their trash there.

The state ordered the landfill closed in 1985 and, within a year, the refuse was capped by layers of clay and soil.

The former dump now is part of the landscape ­ a massive grass- and brush-covered mound that rises behind the trees off Ressique Street.

"It's a very clean landfill," said Robin Haas, whose family has lived a couple of houses away from the dump for more than 10 years. "I don't think people are really concerned about it anymore."

The state annually collects and tests water samples from four wells dug into various spots in the capped landfill.

Town officials are discussing adding one more monitoring well to the site, which the state would monitor.

"It's smart to do. It protects the public," Supervisor Arne Nordstrom said.

The only remaining questions are how deep to drill the new well and how much it would cost ­ issues the Town Board is discussing.

The additional well would be on the property's south end, where the edge of the landfill approaches homes on South Lake.

"The concern is, my concern is because I'm one of the houses, if there was any leachate coming, there wouldn't be any detection until it got to someone's home," said Lou Tartaro, a South Lake resident and a former councilman who has toured the landfill.

In the late 1980s, Ressique Street residents became worried about their drinking water after a reddish-brown liquid was found seeping from the landfill.

Tests in the landfill then found concentrations of manganese and iron exceeding drinking-water standards ­ similar to what was detected last summer during the most recent sampling.

Samples last summer from nine nearby residential wells also contained elevated levels of manganese and iron, as well as a high reading of sodium.

Manganese and iron can discolor the water, making it aesthetically unpleasing, but generally don't pose a health risk.

"It's not a health issue," said Rob Morris of the Putnam County Health Department.

A sample from one home was found to have a sodium level of 240 milligrams per liter.

That is higher than the 20 milligrams per liter recommended for people on a highly restricted sodium diet and less than the 270 milligrams recommended for those on a moderately restricted diet.


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Tuesday, March 21, 2006